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Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III Remarks Welcoming Japanese Minister of Defense Yasukazu Hamada to the Pentagon

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LLOYD J. AUSTIN III:  Well good afternoon, Minister Hamada. Thank you for, again, for traveling to Washington for the Two Plus Two and for our meeting today.

This year is an inflection point for our alliance, with our national security and defense strategies aligning closer than ever and with our shared goal of a new era of alliance modernization. I strongly support Japan's updated national security policies, including decisions to increase defense spending and to acquire counter strike capabilities.

And I'm proud of the historic decision that we announced yesterday to update and modernize U.S. force posture in Japan by forward stationing more versatile, mobile, and resilient capabilities.

In the face of our shared security challenges, these actions will bolster deterrence and allow us to defend Japan more effectively.

Today we remain deeply concerned by China's coercive behavior in the Taiwan Strait and in the water surrounding Japan. We're also deeply concerned with North Korea's provocations toward Japan and its neighbors and we condemn Russia's cruel, unprovoked and unjustifiable war of choice against Ukraine.

Facing these challenges, our alliance remains a corner stone of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific and beyond. And I'm encouraged by the work we're doing with our partners like Australia and Republic of Korea.

And I also want to reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the defense of Japan, including U.S. extended deterrence provided by the full range of conventional and nuclear capabilities.

And last, I want to take just a moment to highlight the two defense arrangements that we'll be signing at the conclusion of this meeting.

First is a research development testing and evaluation memorandum of understanding. This document will increase our partnership on advanced technologies such as hypersonic defense, autonomous systems for complementary teaming with fighter jets and high-powered microwaves for air defense.

Second is the security of supply arrangement. This will increase cooperation between our respected defense supply chains and build critical linkages between our defense industrial bases.

These two arrangements will further strengthen cooperation between Japan and the United States, and they reinforce our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific. I look forward to continuing our discussions today. Again, thanks Mr. Minister for making the trip.

MINISTER OF DEFENSE YASUKAZU HAMADA (through translator):  Secretary Austin, thank you very much for accepting my visit following September last year.

Building on the Two Plus Two meeting yesterday, I look forward to discussing — discussing more cooperative measures with you today.

In particular, I hope to have intensive discussions started and finished this week between the defense authorities; the roles, missions and capabilities of the alliance based on the fundamentally reinforced defense capabilities of Japan, including the effective operations of Japan's counter cyber capabilities in close cooperation with the United States.

Also, recognizing the vital importance of constantly ensuring the technological edge of the alliance, I am delighted that we can find an important arrangement today, which will form a foundation for deeper bilateral cooperation in the equipment and technology area.

Based on these documents, I hope we can advance our cooperation into specific projects such as counter hypersonic technology and autonomous systems.

I am also encourage by the U.S. commitment to the extended deterrence as we had in-depth discussion the situation surrounding nuclear weapons in the region have become more imminent than ever at the extent to (abide ?) by China's rapid and opaque advancement of nuclear arsenal and North Korea's significant enhancement of nuclear and methodical technology. I hope to have thorough discussion with you to address these imminent challenges including how the U.S. nuclear capability should be operated.

Thank you.